Or more to the point – are we hypocritical for doing this?
Yes we are!
In order to have the flexibility to create a range of different scenes, the @plasticplanners use a home studio which basically has a single shelving unit full of Lego which takes up a whole wall on one side of the room, and comprises around 50,000 individual Lego bricks.
In total, these bricks weigh around 50 kg, and although I don’t know exactly how much energy is needed to produce each brick, it would be reasonable to assume that 1 kg of Lego requires a lot more than 1 kg of oil, but let’s say the ratio is 10 to 1 – then that would be in the region of 500 L.
I have tried looking up a precise figure, but I can’t find one. The Lego company are making efforts to go “oil (or petrochemical) free”, but there’s nothing on the exact usage.
This collection has taken several years to amass, and most of it has been bought second hand as 1 kg job lots on eBay, so I am effectively just reusing bricks that other people no longer need or want. Needless to say, there is still energy consumption from postage and packing.
Some older pieces date back to the 1960s, so they are over 50 years old.
I sell on any surplus bricks that aren’t going to be used in these scenes, because I only need Lego city / town type bricks.
It would be reasonable to estimate that my oil usage for @plasticplannersoperation is somewhere around 100 L per year.
In comparison, the average British car travels around 10,000 miles per year, with an average combined cycle fuel consumption at around 50 miles per gallon, consuming around 200 gallons or 1000 L.
So very roughly speaking, the plastic planners has an oil consumption that this would suggest is about 10% of running the average UK family car, or that is possibly the equivalent of one very short flight (e.g. London to Manchester) .
I would like to think that is a carbon footprint that is worth making in order to share ideas which already now have a global following and have been translated into over 20 different languages.
But of course, for most people this stuff is just a toy. Most household collections are probably closer to 10,000 bricks than 50. So let’s put it another way – how long does a litre or gallon of petrol last in your tank? You can burn a gallon of fuel in an hour of motorway driving in reasonable conditions. If that could also get you a small Lego set, even if it’s a Lego car or plane, then I think we can be sure it is going to last a lot longer than that.